Big Orbit Project Space provides unique opportunities for artists connected to the region with site-specific installations and performances. In late 2013, Big Orbit Gallery and their programs officially merged with CEPA Gallery. This strategic initiative will safeguard the mission and history of Big Orbit, while ensuring the continued growth of the region’s only program dedicated to the art and artists of Western New York.
Since its inception in 1991, Big Orbit Gallery has been an artist-run arts center dedicated to transcultural, multidisciplinary explorations of contemporary art issues, with its primary focus being the promotion of the art and artists of Western New York.
Through programming that ranges everything from painting and performance art to architectural installations and live sound sculpture, Big Orbit extends the legacy of artistic innovation historically associated with Buffalo, providing a basis for the creation of new boundary-pushing work. The gallery encourages the under-represented, emerging and established artists in the community through solo exhibition opportunities, and curated group exhibits promoting social awareness.
By embracing many artistic disciplines, including visual, performance, and media arts, Big Orbit takes great pride in establishing a creative dialogue between artists and community while raising awareness of the arts developing in Western New York.
An Essay by Elizabeth Licata
There had been an art gallery at 30 Essex Street since the 1970s . . . [I]t played a small but significant role in the Buffalo art scene—with the usual peaks and valleys—until late 1990, when it simply ran out of steam.
In stepped artists Katrin Jurati and Alan Van Every, then renting studio space in the Essex Street Complex. Jurati and Van Every decided to take over . . . revitalizing a mission and identity that up until then had been loosely-defined. In effect, they not only brought the gallery back to life, they gave it a personality.
They called the gallery Big Orbit . . . the astrological metaphor suggested the connectivity of artists and art spaces, big and small, revolving in the same cultural sky.
By the end of their tenure as Big Orbit co-directors, Jurati and Van Every had completed the process for the gallery to become its own 501(c)(3) organization. And another pair of young artists was ready to step in.
Big Orbit functions as a creator of culture. By focusing on emerging artists of exceptional quality, Big Orbit engages in the evolution of artistic trends while continuously producing the next generation of visual artists displayed in the museums of the world. In this role, Big Orbit educates the museums and the public on what’s breaking new ground in the visual arts.
Big Orbit presents art of a challenging nature. We offer artists the opportunity to produce large-scale works unhindered by the restrictions typically imposed by larger institutions. This philosophy allows for the greatest possible level of artistic freedom and expression while maximizing dialogue between the artist, the artwork, and the audience.
Big Orbit is committed to the precept that the visual arts are essential to an open, enlightened society. It therefore seeks to advance an inclusive cultural dialogue by providing resources to artists reflecting a diverse society and by affirming that freedom of artistic expression is fundamental to such a society and must be vigorously protected.
Big Orbit is the only multidisciplinary arts organization in Buffalo that focuses on the art and artists of Western New York. By providing significant opportunities that advance their careers, Big Orbit propels regional artists into the national and international spotlight, directing the world’s attention on our exciting cultural achievements.